European Seismological Commission

Urmas Luosto 1935-2016

Urmas4Professor Urmas Luosto passed away on January 23rd, 2016, a week before his 81st birthday. The former director of the Institute of Seismology, University of Helsinki had a long career as a seismologist.

Urmas Luosto had a long-lasting contribution to the studies of crustal structure, in particular deep seismic soundings. He initiated and took part in an international seismic deep seismic survey program in Finland. The long refraction sounding profiles included SVEKA81, BALTIC82, POLAR87, SVEKA91 and BABEL89. The analysis of the data revealed an exceptionally deep Moho discontinuity in central and southern Finland. The profiles were later complemented by the deep reflection profiles POLAR87 and BABEL90 as well as by tomography studies along the SVEKA profile in 1989 and SVEKALAPKO network in 1998-1999. He also participated in deep seismic sounding surveys across Europe. He took part in the European Geotraverse (1983-1990) that extended from the Nordic countries to the Mediterranean, in LT-7 (1987) and TTZ (1993) in Poland as well as in EUROBRIDGE (1994-1997) and POLONAISE (1997) in East-Central Europe.

He served in various international scientific committees and commissions, such as the Commission on Controlled Source Seismology and Sub-Commission on Deep Seismic Sounding of the ESC. He also belonged to the Group of Scientific Experts of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament and the Working Group B of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization.

Urmas Luosto was raised at Ristijärvi in northern Finland. He was educated at the University of Helsinki where he majored in physics. Before completing his Master’s degree in 1962 he worked at the Nurmijärvi Geophysical Observatory, southern Finland. He was appointed assistant seismologist at the Institute of Seismology, University of Helsinki, in 1961 and seismologist in 1970. In 1993-1998 he served as the director of the Institute of Seismology. He also lectured in seismology for three decades according to the curriculum of solid earth geophysics of the University of Helsinki and supervised several PhD theses in seismology. His publication record extends over four decades.

In his free time Urmas enjoyed classical music and fishing. Many colleagues, as well as his grandchildren, accompanied him on his fishing trips over the years. 


From the Working Groups:

The FAULT2SHA Working Group, formally approved by the European Seismological Commission, at the 35th General Assembly in Sept 2016, promotes a new initiative, open to all researchers interested in contributing to discussions on topics that could improve the assessment of seismic hazard.

Futher information is available here.

If you would like to join the Fault2SHA WG, follow this link.

First announcement:

ESC WG Fault2SHA 3rd Workshop: Role of scaling laws and fault interaction

Barcelonnette (F), May 2-4, 2017

The workshop is financially supported by the CEREGE (F), IRSN (F) and OGS (I).

FURTHER INFORMATION can be found here


The Working Group on Induced Seismicity is organizing as its second activity a special session 'Induced Seismicity - The European Perspective' at the annual meeting of the SSA. Please have a look at Forthcoming events. 


What were the past General Assemblies of the ESC like? Find out! Interesting documentation has been made easily accessible.

This list summarizes the files.


Sadly we announce the loss of esteemed and beloved colleagues and friends:


blog on the L'Aquila Appeal trial in Italy.
The last hearing took place on 10 November 2014.